ALEXANDRIA, VA–Arlington-based artist, Andrew Funk, has two entries in the National Cherry Blossom Festival’s Art in Bloom Project.
“We have wanted to do this for a long time,” says Diana Mayhew, President and CEO of the National Cherry Blossom Festival, Art in Bloom Project.
The Art In Bloom Project consists of 26 Cherry Blossom sculptures painted by 25 artists chosen from a large pool of applicants. Twenty-three sculptures are positioned across D.C.’s eight wards, one is at National Harbor, and two are at National Landing. Each sculpture is mounted on a half-ton concrete base that took a crew to install.
Andrew Funk, one of the artists selected to paint a sculpture, lived in New York City as a small child but grew up in the Alexandria-Arlington area since his middle school years. “I have been doing art since my sister and I were little,” he says. “My mom always had us in art classes.”
In the 1980s, Andrew gravitated towards a specific style of spray paint art that he saw in New York City ̶ graffiti. “In high school, we’d go out skating and see it on the train. So I started doing similar stuff in my art classes, teaching myself that medium.”
Andrew has two sculptures in the Art in Bloom Project: “The Message,” named after a Grandmaster Flash song, is abstract, psychedelic, colorful, and fun.
“Cherry Tattoo” is bold yet simple, featuring Cherry Blossoms painted with a tattoo flare.
Possibly the only artist in the project using spray paint, Andrew’s pieces are bold and vibrant. “I wanted to do something you could see from across the street,” he says.
All 26 Art in Bloom sculptures are available for viewing until May 31, when they will be auctioned off for permanent installation. A map of all the sculpture locations is on the National Cherry Blossom Festival website (nationalcherryblossom.org/art-in-bloom).
“The key reason we did this was to bring the festival to the community,” explains Diana. “We could not gather or do our normal festival, so the main purpose was to continue the celebration and the festival celebration as one of the world’s greatest springtime destinations.”
The festival also featured a photo scavenger hunt. Submit a creative photo of any sculpture for a chance to win a $500 Amazon Gift Card.
“This is a way to engage people and get them involved. They are becoming part of the festival by sharing their experiences,” concludes Diana. “I admire the talent of these artists that have the power to connect and bring joy, and we are hoping to do this project again.”